Boys awarded $3,000 in ICE League scholarships

The Project Leadership ICE League honors and awards students at the end of the season for their efforts in the classroom. Academic All-Star awards are given to players with the highest GPAs. Academic All-Stars in the 8th grade are awarded plaques and scholarships that will be held by the ICE League until students graduate from high school and dispersed directly to the college or university students attend.

Five ICE League 8th-grade boys’ players were awarded a total of $3,000 in scholarships Saturday afternoon following the 2017 Championship game. Those receiving scholarships include:

  • Jameson Beaty, Boys & Girls Club, $600
  • Ian Kowalski, Boys & Girls Club, $600
  • Colbey Kring, Ross Center, $600
  • Malachi Silmon, Buley Center, $600
  • Dennis Vo, Ross Center, $600

Ron Bonham MVP

Boys & Girls Club player Grant Jones won the League’s most prestigious award, the ICE League Ron Bonham Most Valuable Player award. The award is presented to the player who has consistently shown the highest level of play throughout the season. The award is named for Muncie Central Bearcat player Ron Bonham who played from 1958 through 1960 and is, arguably, considered Central’s greatest player.

The honor surprised the Burris student.

“This is my first ever championship that I’ve been in,” Jones said. “It’s cool to be the first Burris student to get the MVP award. I’ve liked meeting everybody new and playing with the coaches and the other teams.”

Muncie Mayor presents 2017 Mayor’s Trophy to three ICE League champions

Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler sat courtside for three hours Saturday at the Muncie Fieldhouse as he watched six ICE League teams battle to win the 2017 champions for three divisions, girls, 6th/7th-grade boys and 8th-grade boys.

“This is such a historic building,” Tyler said as he glanced across the expansive and legendary basketball venue. “You can just feel the history when you walk in. This is a great opportunity for students to walk out on the floor where true basketball legends played.”

The ICE League is an innovative League that emphasizes the importance of student academics.

“What the ICE League is doing is showing the worth of being a real student athlete,” Tyler said. “Basketball is a great outlet to burn energy and play as part of a team. But it doesn’t matter how good you become as an athlete if you struggle to be a good student.”

Tyler awarded the 2017 Mayor’s Trophy to all three championship teams: the girls’ Buley Center team; the 6th/7th-grade boys’ Buley Center team and the 8th-grade boys’ Ross team.

He also joined Project Leadership team member and long-time community leader Dick Daniel in presenting the Ron Bonham trophy to the League’s most valuable players.

“These kids have no idea how much the award they’re being given meant to Ron, to be named after him,” Tyler said of his longtime friend, Ron Bonham. “He was a humble guy who didn’t talk about his awards. He’d rather talk about wildlife. His career on this floor was legendary.”

Ross Center wins 2017 ICE League 8th-grade boys championship

Ross Center 8th-grade ICE League boys’ Coach Kyle Miles asked his team to deliver during the championship game Saturday on two words: “Fight hard.”

During a one-hour matchup in what was the most contentious battle in the 2017 ICE League Championships, the Ross Center defeated their opponent, the Boys & Girls Club, in a narrow victory, 39-36, during a game that had spectators in the Fieldhouse roaring in excitement.

“I told them if you want to be champions, you have to play like champions,” Miles said about his team that rallied Thursday night to win the semi-finals after a 20-point game deficit at halftime.

The Ross Center players hovered on the court for photos and congratulations following the game, a little dazed from the comeback victory.

“This is my first year to play, and I didn’t expect this to happen,” 8th-grade player Ahmad Foster said. “It’s been a good year.”

Just as important as the championship win to Coach Miles was this team fact about the Ross Center students’ academics: “They are all four-quarter kids,” said Miles in reference to the ICE League’s GPA requirements. “We stress how important that is.”

ICE League awards 3 champions, 3 MVPs, and $6,000 in scholarships

Eleven Academic All-Stars earned thousands of dollars in scholarships Saturday, surrounded by their ICE League teammates, coaches, fans, family, and friends at the third annual ICE League championship tournament.

The foundation of the innovative Inner City Educational League is academics. Students must maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA to fully participate and to be eligible for the season awards. The basketball championship tournament, with the semifinal round on Thursday, March 30, and the finals on Saturday, April 1, at the Muncie Fieldhouse, was the culmination of a six-week season.

The ICE League mission is to utilize sports and other activities to connect students and their parents to positive educational, healthy living and career pathway opportunities.

“What the ICE League is doing is showing the worth of being a real student athlete,” said Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, who gives out the Mayor’s Trophy to the champion in each of the three divisions. “Basketball is a great outlet to burn energy and play as part of a team. But it doesn’t matter how good you become as an athlete if you struggle to be a good student.”

The 11 eighth-grade ICE League players with the highest GPAs were awarded $6,000 total in scholarships on Saturday, which will be held by ICE League partners until the students graduate from high school. The scholarships will then be dispersed directly to the college or university the students attend.

There was a four-way tie for the top GPA for the girls division, so those four received $675 scholarships. Two other students received $250 scholarships. For the boys, there was a five-way tie, so each All-Star recevied $600 scholarships.

The eighth-grade 2015 ICE League Academic All-Stars for the girls teams are:

  • Kylie Allen, Buley Center, $625
  • Alexis Franks, Buley Center, $625
  • Catelyn Guarney, Buley Center, $625
  • Sayla McIntosh, Ross Center, $625
  • Gabriela Booher-Fields, YMCA, $250
  • JiiTyonne Thomas, Ross Center, $250

The eighth-grade 2015 ICE League Academic All-Stars for the boys teams are:

  • Jameson Beaty, Boys & Girls Club, $600
  • Ian Kowalski, Boys & Girls Club, $600
  • Colbey Kring, Ross Center, $600
  • Malachi Silmon, Buley Center, $600
  • Dennis Vo, Ross Center, $600

In addition, 6th- and 7th-grade players in both the boys and girls divisions who were named Academic All-Stars received recognition plaques.

Girls:

  • Emily Adamowicz, Buley Center
  • Maekenze Durbin, Ross Center
  • Rebecca Giver, Boys & Girls Club
  • Makaiya Lowe, Ross Center
  • Norah Quirk, Buley Center

Boys:

  • Thomas Davis, YMCA
  • Carter Fisher, Boys & Girls Club
  • Aiden Franks, Buley Center
  • Isaac French, Boys & Girls Club
  • Cameron Johnson, Buley Cener
  • Bryce Karnes, Boys & Girls Club

In the first title game of the day Saturday at the Muncie Fieldhouse, the Buley Center team toppled the YMCA team, 40-29, earning back-to-back titles in the girls division.

What impressed Jannai Smith the most about the season happened after the game.

“What is most impressive is the academic awards at the end,” she said. “Most of the girls on my team got them. “They deserve it. They’ve worked hard. Everyone has had a purpose on the team, whether they’re the cheerleader on the bench or an offensive player. It really makes a difference and what makes them so good. I’m so proud of them.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Smith as she continued to accept congratulations and uniform jerseys from the girls to clean post-season. “They look like high school players. I’m overwhelmed and speechless.”

>> Read more about the girls division game here

Both of the games in the boys’ division — the 6th/7th-grade and the 8th-grade teams — came down to last-second shots.

In the 8th-grade game, the Ross Center brought home the title with a come-from-behind win, ending 39-36 over the Boys and Girls Club.

“I told them if you want to be champions, you have to play like champions,” Coach Kyle Miles said about his team that rallied Thursday night to win the semi-finals after a 20-point game deficit at halftime.

>> Read more about the 8th-grade boys game here

The Buley Center team came out on top in the younger teams’ game, winning 50-48 over the Boys and Girls Club.

Coach Brandon Clemens said his message to his Boys & Girls Club team following the hard loss was simple: “I told them, ‘Be proud. I know this hurts. You played a heck of a game. It’s a valuable experience.’”

>> Read more about the 6th/7th-grade boys game here

Ron Bonham MVP awards

One player from each division was named the Ron Bonham MVP for the season.

The award is named for Muncie Central Bearcat player Ron Bonham who played from 1958 through 1960 and is, arguably, considered Central’s greatest player. Bonham went on to play college basketball for the University of Cincinnati and was later drafted by the Boston Celtics, helping them win the NBA title his first year there. Bonham returned to live in Muncie and died last year.

The season MVP awards were voted on by league coaches. Players with 2.5 or higher GPA were eligible. The MVPs are:

  • Madissen Geeslin, on the YMCA girls division team
  • Isaac French, on the Boys & Girls Club 6th/7th-grade boys division team
  • Grant Jones, on the Boys & Girls Club 8th-grade boys division team

The ICE League is administered by Project Leadership and funded by the Ball Brothers Foundation. The league is also supported by Old National Bank/Champions for a Safe Community, Muncie Altrusa Foundation, and Friends of Muncie Endurathon. Also partnering were Muncie Community Schools.

Project Leadership recognizes the importance of education and the vital role it plays in a community’s well-being. To that end, Project Leadership creates and accelerates Delaware County and regional initiatives and programs that promote educational attainment and degree completion. It strives to improve quality of life and the economic health of communities, ensuring low-income students achieve an education with value in the marketplace through college access/completion.

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PHOTOS: 8th Grade Boys Championship Game

Ross Center 8th-grade boys team seeks semi-final game repeat

ICE League Assistant Commissioner Adrian Barrett took one look at the long faces and down-turned heads of the 8th-grade Ross Center players Thursday during the League semi-finals playoffs at the Muncie Fieldhouse. Glancing back at the scoreboard, he knew just the message the team, down 20 points at half time, needed to hear: “Wake up; you have half the ballgame left,” he remembers telling the team as he filled in for the coach, who was called away on an emergency mid-game. “If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else?” he asked his “new” team.

Barrett instructed his new team to focus on two things: “Rebound, and play defense,” he said. “And offensively, let’s see what we can do.”

“I put them in a situation they’d never been in and said we’re going to trap,” Barrett said.

The strategy paid off, producing turnovers on the opposing YMCA team.

“I saw the life come back in them,” Barrett said, “And I thought, ‘We have a chance.’ Once they saw the points coming off, that gave them some confidence.”

Barrett, coaching from the sidelines, continue to push and encourage: “I need you to play more,” he called out to the team.

Barrett, who serves on Muncie Central’s coaching staff, said about coaching: “A lot of people think coaching is about Xs and Os. It’s about understanding the individual personalities and getting them to do what they need to do. It’s trying to get everyone to be whatever their ‘great’ level is.”

Six players named Academic All-Stars in 6th/7th Grade Boys Division

The Project Leadership ICE League honors and awards students at the end of the season for their efforts in the classroom. Academic All-Star awards are given to players with the highest GPAs. Student players in the 6th and 7th grades are given a plaque. Six ICE League boys from the 6th/7th-grade division were awarded as ICE League Academic All-Stars:

  • Thomas Davis, YMCA
  • Carter Fisher, Boys & Girls Club
  • Aiden Franks, Buley Center
  • Isaac French, Boys & Girls Club
  • Cameron Johnson, Buley Cener
  • Bryce Karnes, Boys & Girls Club

Ron Bonham MVP

Boys & Girls Club player Isaac French won the League’s most prestigious award, the ICE League Ron Bonham Most Valuable Player award. The award is presented to the player who has consistently shown the highest level of play throughout the season. The award is named for Muncie Central Bearcat player Ron Bonham who played from 1958 through 1960 and is, arguably, considered Central’s greatest player.